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no milk ever moistened the lips of the miser. He had a fountain of brackish water, and in that he dipped his earthen mug.
At premises so forbidding in their aspect, the unfortunate man and the beggar scarcely had the hardihood to apply. On his portals were written, as in blazing characters, Begone! To unloose his pursestrings would have been more hard than to relax the polar ices, or to unlock the iron grasp of death. Three score years and ten did he live, and in all that time he never knew the luxury of doing good. He never fed the hungry, clothed the naked, nor listened to the importunate voice of despair. Did the sick or the dying man lie in his path-way, and accost him, he turned a deaf ear to his supplications, and leaving him to some good Samaritan, passed by on the other side.
A sister lay in a neighboring town, bed-ridden, needy, and ready to die. She pronounced the endearing word “brother,' and said
give, give. But the 'genial current of his soul was frozen. With brows contracted, first clenched, lips compressed, he shook his hoary head, and slowly turned upon
his heel. In a few days after, she was carried to the grave. He followed on, and shed a tear; a bright, sparkling, affectionate tear.
With his neighbors he never mingled in social intercourse. They beheld him only in the distance, and with scorn. What cared he for crops whose harvest was already garnered? When the Sunday bells rang cheerily, and the old and the young, their faces beaming with gratitude, flocked to the temple of God, he devoutly worshipped at home. He had an altar there, a glittering altar. With greater rapture than the Christian bows down to his God, did he worship his gold, and the prayer which he offered up was this, that it would never leave him nor forsake him.
He lit no lamps, he burned no oil. Was there not light enough in the day-time to perform the little business of his life? When night came on, and the cold winds of winter whistled through the crannies, he covered up the embers with a wise economy, and slunk away into bed. Twenty times in a night, would he wake up in trepidation. He thought he heard the step of the robber. It might not be, and yet it might be. It were better to set his mind at rest.
So he rose up shivering from his couch, laid his hand upon his treasures, then soothed his heart with the watchman's cry, `All's well, all's well.'
Old age at last stole upon him, and the time arrived when in the course of nature he must die. But the ruling passion was strong in death. He only hugged his treasures the closer. They became his bed-fellows. As the sick and petulant man, who cannot bear to be alone, he said to them, 'Leave me not; stay with me, for I have but a short time to live.' His hands could still count them over, and when his hands were palsied, his glaring eye could still drink in their splendor. In delirium his mind wandered - but not from his gold. He said that he was going into a far country; he must make great preparations; he must provide sacks, and an escort of armed men, for there were robbers by the way. Then he murmured, I know not what, confusedly, of treasures on earth - ah! how much better to have provided treasures in heaven and departed to his own
abode. His features retained their expression in death, as if a sculptor had carved them from the rigid marble.
Thus he lived despised, thus he died unlamented. His negative virtue was his positive crime. He had done no evil, he had effected no good. No friend hung with solicitude over his sick bed. No mourner followed him to the grave. None ever had occasion to remember him with affection, and the best charity was to forget that he had lived. Such a life who would lead ? Such a character who would
? Other vices admit the exercise of redeeming virtues, and their victims we love, we pity, we condemn. This cannot.
It wraps up
the whole soul; it lies at the fountain-head of all benevolence, not like other vices embittering the waters, but actually forbidding them to flow. Few indeed are so entirely the slaves of the accursed lust of gold. Charity suggests that even these are laboring under a monomania, a mental disease; and that as we pity the tenants of a madhouse, so in their case, we ought to pity, yet we cannot. But if few have deserved the miser's name, with its intolerable burthen of contempt, do we not see thousands in the breathless, eager search of gold; sacrificing the flower of their youth, and the prime of their manhood, and heroically battling for it on the
brink of the grave, as if it were the grandest object of their lives? They rise up early, they retire late; they make haste to gather winged riches, and at last old age comes on, and the period of enjoyment is not arrived.
Oh! what is all the wealth of Cræsus, if we have not the heart to Iet it flow? If it does not administer to the refined enjoyments of our nature, if we stifle the rational desires of the heart; how are we so happy then, as the laborer who earns his daily bread ? plus of our wealth remains unconverted. The prayer of Midas is comparatively realized. We touch nothing but gold. We live not while we live, abstaining from what renders life desirable; the festivity of friends — the delight of books — the recreation of travelling through foreign parts - the culture of the arts --- and the tasteful adornment of our grounds. How few cubic inches of ductile gold would rescue acres from thorns and briars, and render them beautiful as the gardens of SHENSTONE !
But what is all the wealth of Cresus, if not for a more exalted purpose ; if not to shed on others the beams of our prosperity and to encourage the generous emotions of the heart ? To go to the houses of mourning, to the abodes of the sick and the aged, whose pangs are rendered keener by penury, to succor them, and smooth their pathway to the grave, these are the peculiar privileges and luxuries of the rich. Oh! 'for treasures of silver and gold' to indulge in somewhat beside empty boastings! Ye who grope in the depth of poverty, and drink the world's obloquy, 'a bitter draught,'
with intensest earnestness to Heaven, "Give us this day our daily bread,' smiles and sunshine should scatter your darkness, the spirit of joy be assumed for heaviness, and the desert of your
hearts should blossom as the rose. Oh! who would hesitate to barter his treasures for blessings, or for the gratitude of hearts too full for utterance ? Who would withhold the happy gift which is twice blessed' which ‘blesseth him that gives, and him that takes ?'
But if the cheerful giver receives no return for his benevolence,
nay, if evil redounds to him for good, there is a small approving voice within, silent, impalpable, soothing as heart-melody. Virtue has its own reward. What though no trumpet blazon our charities, though'our left hand know not what our right hand doeth,' it is enough to have within us an unblemished mind, and to be acquitted at our own tribunal.
The air was faint with perfume of the flowers,
A thousand visions cluster round his heart;
'Fame's laurel on my brow,
A longing to depart
THE HUMAN SYSTEM.
IGNORANCE OF IT A PRINCIPAL CAUSE OF THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF EMPIRICISM.
BY A PHYSICIAN.
• Sin,' says an eminent divine,‘is the transgression of the law, and is the cause of all existing misery. We may go farther, and say, that it has been, and is, the cause of all misery, past, present, and to come. In nearly all cases, we transgress through ignorance; ignorance of our true interests, or of that which constitutes our real happiness. Man was created upright, but he has sought out many inventions, and the first act of disobedience, in the garden of Eden, was occasioned by a thirst for knowledge. With this inherent and universal longing, with what propriety shall we accuse him of perverse ignorance on subjects connected with his moral and physical happiness ? It is even so. He may grasp the field of science, descend into the bowels of the earth, circumnavigate the globe, ascend into the higher regions of air, in short, lay open the great book of nature, where on every page are blended the sublimest truths with all that can gratify the eye, or delight the taste. He may cultivate the intellect to the highest point of perfection, and in his insatiable thirst for knowledge, consume the midnight oil, or endure the most fatiguing and laborious researches, and yet be ignorant of his true and best interests, or of the simple laws that govern and animate his organic system. He cannot, however, neglect or violate those laws, without sooner or later feeling the effects of such violation. • The longer we live in this world,' says Dr. James Johnson, and the more narrowly we watch the ways and the fate of man, the more we shall be convinced, that vice does not triumph here below; that pleasure is invariably pursued by pain; that riches and penury incur nearly the same degree and kind of taxation; and that the human frame is as much enfeebled by idleness, as it is exhausted by labor.' The body, which is the habitation of the soul, is not beneath the consideration of the sage. Man was created in the express image of his Maker; shall he then neglect the workmanship of His hands, or wilfully abuse his prototype ? He who affects to despise the casket that contains the gem, errs equally with the epicure, who, in tones of sensuality, exclaims, “Let us eat, drink, and be merry.' Both act against the laws of nature, and both must pay the penalty.
Many persons seem to think an attention to health a mark of effeminacy of character. The man who boasts of never doctoring a cold,' will yet loudly lament, if he go through life subject to chronic complaints, that render life less a blessing than a curse. Now if that man had taken pains to inform himself of his anatomical and physiological structure, of the derangement that a single cold can produce in the vital organs of life, we confidently assert, that so far from boasting of his neglect, he would anxiously aid his physician in restoring the excited organs to a healthy action. If we should sedulously inquire, in each particular instance, into the cause of the sickness, pain, and premature death, or derangement of the corporeal
frame, in youth and middle life, which we see common around us, and endeavor to discover whether it has originated in obedience to the physical and organic laws, or sprung from infringement of them, we shall be able to form some estimate how far bodily suffering is justly attributable to imperfections of nature, and how far to our own ignorance, and neglect of divine institutions. We do not ask men to be. come anatomists, or botanists, or chemists; although if time and inclination led to such pursuits, they would find it to their own advantage ;* but we do urge upon them the necessity of understanding their physiological structure ; and though a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, it is infinitely better than none, for it may possibly stimulate its possessor to acquire more.
When we considerówhat a piece of work is man;' how delicate the machinery, and how various and complicated the springs of action ; how liable to become deranged and thrown into disorder; how fine and sensitive the parts that compose the whole; well indeed may we exclaim, with the good old Dr. Watts :
Strange that a harp of thousand strings
Should keep in tune so long !' But when we look a little farther, and consider the ignorance that exists among all classes on this subject, and the abuses to which the healing art is subjected, even by its own members, exclusive of pretenders to the science, we wonder not at the sacrifice of human life. The only way in which the evil can be remedied, is for people to inform themselves, as we have before said, of their physical structure, in connection with physiology. They will then be better able to judge of the pretensions of physicians, and they will learn to discriminate between the man of science and humanity, whose years have been devoted to the study of the human system, and to the melioration of their distresses; and the superficial student, who probably never was in a dissecting room, whose knowledge is merely from books, and those of the fewest possible number; or the unblushing quack, who comes armed with a powder of lobelia, and a cup of Cayenne pepper
infusion, to cure the 'thousand ills that flesh is heir to. We do not claim for ourselves or brethren infallibility. Human judgment is liable to err, and, “it is appointed unto all men once to die,' but by employing none but men who have received a regular education, and who are duly experienced, they will have the satisfaction of
** The idea of men in general being taught natural philosophy, anatomy, and physiology, political economy, and the other sciences that expound the natural laws, has been sneered at, as utterly absurd and ridiculous. But I would ask, in what occupations are human beings so urgently engaged, that they have no leisure to bestow on the Creator's laws? A course of natural philosophy. would occupy sixty, or seventy hours in the delivery, a course of anatomy and physiology the same; and a course of phrenology can be delivered pretty fully in forty hours! These twice or thrice repeated, would serve to initiate the student, so that he could afterward advance in the same paths, by the aid of observation and books. Is life, then, so brief, and are our hours so urgently occupied by higher and more important duties, that we cannot afford these pittances of time to learn the laws that regulate our existence ? No! The only difficulty is in obtaining the desire for the knowledge; for when that is attained, time will not be wanting. No idea can be more preposterous, than that of human beings having no time to study and obey the natural institutions. These laws punish so severely when neglected, that they cause the offender to lose ten fold more time in undergoing his chastisement than would be requisite to obey them.'
COMBE ON THE CONSTITUTION OF MAN,